On May 10, the Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc. (BTMI) will welcome tour operators from around the world to its premier business-to-business marketplace, Connect Barbados. To date, 87 international tour operators have registered, as compared to just 50 in 2016.
Now in its 12th year, the three-day conference will be hosted under the theme ‘One Team, Winning Together’. Invitations were extended to tour operators across all of the island’s major source markets – the United Kingdom, the United States of America, Canada, Europe and the Caribbean and Latin America. These 87 participating tour operators have signed up to meet with local partners including hoteliers and attractions providers, in a series of more than 700 meetings to date.
According to BTMI CEO, William ‘Billy’ Griffith, “Tour operators have been pivotal in driving our arrivals success in the past three years as they continue to play an integral role in delivering package holidays to the island. Connect Barbados seeks to provide them with the opportunity to learn more about and experience the latest product and service developments on island. We will also use this forum to thank local partners for the tremendous contribution they continue to make to the success of Barbados’ primary economic sector.”
Tour operators will be treated to a welcome reception at Gun Hill Signal Station, featuring top local entertainment and cuisine, before proceeding to two full days of business-to-business meetings at the Hilton Barbados Resort. For the closing ceremony, a special ‘Polo under the Stars’ will be orchestrated at the Holder’s Polo Field. On the final day, participants will tour the island for a diverse Attractions Day, inspecting places of interest based on their specialities.
Integrating expert feedback into marketing strategy
“Connect Barbados also facilitates a platform for us to share in participating tour operators’ learnings,” Griffith added. “Holiday makers’ habits continue to evolve with shifting economic climates and changing appetites; therefore, we anticipate that being able to connect local service providers with the agents who have a direct line of communication to potential visitors, and who create holiday packages, will be of invaluable benefit to all parties.
“The conference is extremely timely as there is currently some sociopolitical uncertainty, especially in our major markets, and our tour operators’ feedback will help frame the marketing push for the upcoming summer, fall and peak seasons.”